Today see’s the NSPCC launch their Share Aware Campaign. The campaign aims to help parents of children aged eight to twelve years old keep their children safe online.
Social networking sites can be daunting places at the best of times even for adults. As a mum of young children I want to be able to know that my children are safe when they spend time online. I know I’m not alone when it comes to keeping up with the local social networking channels, my sons seem to know about some already before they have even been given access themselves. The NSPC’s Share Aware provides parents with straight forward advice which will help you keep your child safe when online.
What are social networks?
They are websites, apps or games that allow people to share things with each other. These can be in the form of images, voice calls, chatting with others via video, play games, share content and enable you to meet new people.
Most social networking sites have a minimum age of 13 years but children younger than this do use and have profiles on them. According to research carried out by the NSPCC 50% of children aged 11 and 12 use social networking sites. This is because the sites are easy for children to use and access. However the content is aimed at those aged 13 and older, something that should be considered if your child is asking to use them.
Have a look at the video below created for the campaign
Like many children mine enjoy nothing more than having time on computer games like minecraft or moshi monsters. These games can be played both offline and online where they become a social game they can play with friends and strangers. While we have allowed our older two to play these games we have not yet allowed them to play online. We’ve taken this decision mainly due to the boys ages but also because we want to ensure they are safe when they are eventually allowed to play online with others. There have been occassions when they have played online but with other family members.
The NSPCC have created an easy downloadable guide for parents which you can find here
There are steps that you can take to help keep your child/ren safe, these include using the privacy and/or safety settings of games which enable you to restrict certain things like in game purchases, game requests etc. If using the internet you can use child safe web browsers too. There are also ways of reporting content that may be upsetting to the people who run the sites.
But one thing that we realised early on is that it is important to talk to your child/ren about staying safe online. You will also find some tips on talking to your child/ren here We’ve spoken with all three boys about staying safe while online be that when they are playing games or looking for information for their homework. They understand why we do not allow them to play online with people we don’t know too and that this will not change until we feel they can do so safely. I also know that our older two have been spoken to at school about internet safety when they reached the junior section. Again we feel this is a good thing and reinforces what we have been telling them.
We realise that there will be a time when they will of course experience Social Media sites and when they do we hope they will feel safe and be able to talk to us about anything they find uncomfortable.
Lets make our Chidren #ShareAware and talk to them about staying safe online.